Friday morning in Betania Retreat House. We were blessed very early by the arrival of the delegates from Australia and Singapore, who graciously participated in the dancing of animation songs together with the participants from Verbum Dei Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, and Philippines. They were all then formally and warmly welcomed by Sr. Jem of the Betania Retreat House Tagaytay City.
Shortly after, Sr. Amy of VD Manila-Pasig gladly recalled the series of previous encounters the community had in the past making the current Asian-Australian Encounter 2019 the fifth and a beautiful addition to the Verbum Dei Family History.
Sr. Amy started the little push from the shore by giving the first talk centered on Lk 5:1-3. She reminded the crowd that the response to the mission is not done individually but is continuously shared and is communitarian by nature. She then invited everyone to be open in welcoming each different culture and way of living by appreciating each other’s presence.
After the short break, Christel from VD Manila-Pasig then shared her testimony of life by sharing the lives of the two people who first pushed their boats a little further which in turn inspired her to do the same – her mother and her patient Manuel. She concluded her talk by inviting the delegates to learn how to push their own boats further not only for themselves but for the lives of the people around them.
The morning was capped by the celebration of the Holy Eucharist led by the participants from Taiwan and Japan; and was officiated by Fr. Iwao Ikegami, concelebrated by Fr. Bong Guinoo, Fr. James McTavish and Fr. Daniele Sollazzo.
Fr. Iwao’s homily stressed about how following Christ entails unending patience, including humility – that we are most humble in knowing when to turn to Jesus.
We continue to pray for Mary’s accompaniment in this journey.